In El Salvador, one of the biggest issues in regards to water is NOT the lack of it. Land vulnerability is high due to a heavy rainy season and flooding. All throughout the mountains, communities are surrounded by rivers and natural water springs. The problem is that these sources are not protected or properly maintained. The water is highly contaminated due to unregulated agricultural practices and lack of proper waste management. So, sadly, the communities do not have access to potable water even though they may have five or six natural springs within walking distance from their homes.
Food For the Poor is working with these communities to select the highest quality springs (in production and water quality). We will then build a water reservoir over the spring which will then pass the water through an installed filtration system. This potable water is then carried down to the populated areas and is accessible through public water stations. The communities are very involved in the water project, and the educational component that complements the physical project. We plant fruit and wood- bearing trees all around the natural spring and also educate the community on how to clean the system and regulate it to ensure capacity and pressure. This project, recently completed in Panchimilama, is maintained by a small committee headed up Sebastian (in blue). He has worked with individual families to educate them about water usage in the community. The potable water is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., Sebastian locks the covers on the faucets to ensure that the spring can catch up and refill the reservoir. On Thursdays, the entire system is closed down for cleaning and maintenance.
Sebastian takes great pride in this project and its success. He has even come up with his own form of fundraising activities to raise the small amount of money needed to change the chlorine filters on a monthly basis. He presented me with this beautiful, handmade embroidery to express the gratitude of the community for this project. Thanks to our generous Food For The Poor donors, more than 100 families are receiving potable drinking water in Panchimilama!